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Cybersecurity threats are constantly evolving, and COVID-19 hasn’t helped. In fact, the pandemic has prompted a wave of new, crafty hacking attempts that can be difficult to spot.

In 2020, The American Chamber of Commerce of Trinidad and Tobago (AMCHAM) hosted a webinar to help businesses cope with COVID-19, and many of their insights still hold true in 2021. Defendify’s Success Manager, Shanna Utgard, spoke at this webinar, outlining six essential security tips for remote work forces to keep in mind through the pandemic and into your future as a remote organization.

1. Secure and test remote connections

Hackers often take advantage of out-of-date firewalls or VPNs in order to access a company’s network. To protect themselves, companies should ensure that all devices on their network (including smart phones, computers and tablets) are functioning and up-to-date.

Defendify’s Network Vulnerability Scanner, one of three tools in the free Essentials Package, can help ensure your network is functioning properly. This tool searches networks and systems for security vulnerabilities and provides detailed reports to help you identify risks and security gaps.

2. Use VPNs and two-factor authentication

Remote companies should use a connection or tunnelling tool (VPN) which connects an employee’s home network back to the secured corporate network. Employees should also use a password in addition to two-factor authentication to ensure the connection is safe.

3. Perform regular cybersecurity assessment

All companies should routinely perform cybersecurity assessments — but especially when your team is working from home.

This involves walking your team through your existing cybersecurity controls, as well as pinpointing any recent or upcoming changes to infrastructure and IT posture.

If you need help assessing your current cybersecurity posture, check out Defendify’s Cybersecurity Assessment Tool for a quick and thorough check-up.

4. Set work-from-home expectations

 Having clearly defined WFH expectations and policies is extremely important. To do this, companies should create a technology and data-use policy that prohibits employees from using personal devices, which could lead to infections on personal devices spreading to the company network.

You should also ensure that employees are saving all documents and corporate information to either the corporate network or to a cloud-based file hosting service, instead of their devices’ desktop. Since most email servers don’t encrypt attachments, you should also avoid sending attachments in your emails whenever possible.

Check out Defendify’s Technology & Data Use Policy Builder to help create a policy that works for your organization.

5. Train your team on cybersecurity

Invest time in training employees to use new, potentially unfamiliar technology at home. Communicate relevant topics in fun and engaging ways with topical cybersecurity videos that include short quizzes. This will ensure that information isn’t compromised or stolen due to a technology mishap, and will give employees confidence in implementing security techniques from home.

6. Revise your incident response plan

If your team has moved from in-person to remote work in the last year, you should revisit your cybersecurity incident response plan. Creating a culture where employees feel confident in addressing and reporting an incident is critical. To do this, create clear communication channels for employees to use when they suspect a breach, and provide each employee a copy of the incident response plan.

Make plan creation simple with Defendify’s Incident Response Plan Builder, which can help your organization create a response plan that aligns the entire organization on what to do in the event of a security breach.

It’s always important to stay vigilant when it comes to your company’s cybersecurity, but it’s especially important in times like these. Following these essential security tips will help ensure that your company, customers and employees are protected from any threats, allowing you to keep growing your remote company.